or·​der | \ ˈȯr-dər How to pronounce order (audio) \
ordered; ordering\ ˈȯr-​d(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce ordering (audio) \

Definition of order

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to put in order : arrange The books are ordered alphabetically by author.
2a : to give an order to : command They ordered everyone out of the house.
b : destine, ordain so ordered by the gods
c : to command to go or come to a specified place ordered back to the base
d : to give an order for order a meal I ordered the books from the company's website. The judge ordered a new trial.

intransitive verb

1 : to bring about order : regulate a renascence of the spirit that orders and controls— H. G. Wells
2a : to issue orders : command The general orders and soldiers obey.
b : to give or place an order Be sure to order before it's too late.



Definition of order (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a group of people united in a formal way: such as
(1) : a fraternal society the Masonic Order
(2) : a community under a religious rule especially : one requiring members to take solemn vows
b : a badge or medal of such a society also : a military decoration
2a : any of the several grades of the Christian ministry
b orders plural : the office of a person in the Christian ministry
c orders plural : ordination
3a : a rank, class, or special group in a community or society
b : a class of persons or things grouped according to quality, value, or natural characteristics: such as
(1) : a category of taxonomic classification ranking above the family and below the class
(2) : the broadest category in soil classification
4a(1) : rank, level a statesman of the first order
(2) : category, class in emergencies of this order— R. B. Westerfield
b(1) : the arrangement or sequence of objects or of events in time listed the items in order of importance the batting order
(2) : a sequential arrangement of mathematical elements
d(1) : the number of times differentiation is applied successively derivatives of higher order
(2) of a differential equation : the order of the derivative of highest order
e : the number of columns or rows or columns and rows in a magic square, determinant, or matrix the order of a matrix with 2 rows and 3 columns is 2 by 3
f : the number of elements in a finite mathematical group
5a(1) : a sociopolitical system was opposed to changes in the established order
(2) : a particular sphere or aspect of a sociopolitical system the present economic order
b : a regular or harmonious arrangement the order of nature
6a : a prescribed form of a religious service : rite
b : the customary mode of procedure especially in debate point of order
7a : the state of peace, freedom from confused or unruly behavior, and respect for law or proper authority promised to restore law and order
b : a specific rule, regulation, or authoritative direction : command
8a : a style of building
b : a type of column and entablature forming the unit of a style
9a : state or condition especially with regard to functioning or repair things were in terrible order
b : a proper, orderly, or functioning condition their passports were in order the phone is out of order
10a : a written direction to pay money to someone
b : a commission to purchase, sell, or supply goods or to perform work
c : goods or items bought or sold
d : an assigned or requested undertaking landing men on the moon was a tall order
11 : order of the day flat roofs were the order in the small villages
in order
: appropriate, desirable an apology is in order
in order to
: for the purpose of
on order
: in the process of being ordered
on the order of
1 : after the fashion of : like a genius on the order of Newton— D. B. Botkin
2 : about, approximately spent on the order of two million dollars
to order
: according to the specifications of an order shoes made to order

Illustration of order

Illustration of order


order 8b: 1 Corinthian, 2 Doric, 3 Ionic

In the meaning defined above

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Other Words from order


orderable \ ˈȯr-​d(ə-​)rə-​bəl How to pronounce orderable (audio) \ adjective
orderer \ ˈȯr-​dər-​ər How to pronounce orderer (audio) \ noun


orderless \ ˈȯr-​dər-​ləs How to pronounce orderless (audio) \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for order


order, arrange, marshal, organize, systematize, methodize mean to put persons or things into their proper places in relation to each other. order suggests a straightening out so as to eliminate confusion. ordered her business affairs arrange implies a setting in sequence, relationship, or adjustment. arranged the files numerically marshal suggests gathering and arranging in preparation for a particular operation or effective use. marshaling the facts for argument organize implies arranging so that the whole aggregate works as a unit with each element having a proper function. organized the volunteers into teams systematize implies arranging according to a predetermined scheme. systematized billing procedures methodize suggests imposing an orderly procedure rather than a fixed scheme. methodizes every aspect of daily living

synonyms see in addition command

Examples of order in a Sentence

Verb They ordered everyone out of the house. The soldiers were ordered back to the base. “Stop! Drop your weapon!” ordered the officer. The court threw out the conviction and ordered a new trial. The judge ordered that the charges be dismissed. He was accused of ordering the murder of his wife. I ordered the books from the company's Web site. The shirt you ordered should arrive in the mail in a couple of days. To order, call the number at the bottom of your screen. Order now and receive a free gift! Noun That's an order, not a request! Failing to comply with an order will result in the loss of your job. She received an order to appear in court. They can't close down the school without an order from the governor's office. The mayor gave an order to evacuate the city. It's not his fault. He was only following orders. I'm not taking orders from you! You're not my boss. The city was evacuated by order of the mayor. The store received an order for 200 roses this morning. They had trouble filling large customer orders.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb McMaster did not order a statewide mask requirement, citing the need for enforcement by local authorities. Vivian Jones, Washington Examiner, "South Carolina governor announces new restrictions, calls for local mask mandates," 30 July 2020 Keller ISD is making plans to begin classes Aug. 19, following Tuesday’s announcement by state Attorney General Ken Paxton, who said local health departments cannot indiscriminately order schools to delay openings to prevent coronavirus outbreaks. Anna Caplan, Dallas News, "Keller ISD reverses its decision on start date, aims to open earlier for in-person and virtual learning," 29 July 2020 Abbott, a Republican who had pushed Texas' aggressive reopening in May, had previously said the government could not order individuals to wear masks. Editors, USA TODAY, "Trump heads to Mount Rushmore, July Fourth weekend, MLB Spring Training: 5 things to know Friday," 3 July 2020 Democratic members of Michigan's congressional delegation have asked the Trump administration to order Enbridge to shut down the line while the damage was assessed, according to the Detroit Free Press. Laura Schulte, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'It could rise to the level of Standing Rock': Wisconsinites push back against oil pipeline reroute," 3 July 2020 On Wednesday, Democratic members of Michigan’s congressional delegation asked the Trump administration to order Enbridge to shut down the line while the damage was assessed. Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press, "Judge orders temporary shutdown of Line 5, tells Enbridge to explain damage," 25 June 2020 In Texas, the state Democratic Party asked the U.S. Supreme Court to order the state to provide greater access to mail-in ballots. James Brooks, Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska Democratic lawmakers push back on state’s absentee voting plan for people 65 or older," 19 June 2020 Judges for a federal appeals court handed stock exchanges a victory on Tuesday by ruling their regulator can’t order them to experiment with trading fees. Dave Michaels And Alexander Osipovich, WSJ, "Appeals Court Rules for Stock Exchanges in Fee Fight With SEC," 16 June 2020 And yet, the government did not order people to take cover. Ian Johnson, The New York Review of Books, "A Difficult Birth in Britain’s Stressed Health Service," 4 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Anti-death penalty groups say President Trump is pushing for executions prior to the November election in a cynical bid to burnish a reputation a law-and-order leader. CBS News, "Justice Department schedules two more federal executions," 1 Aug. 2020 At the same time, Gov. Tony Evers has issued an order requiring masks to be worn inside, including in schools. Annysa Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin parents: What do you think about the reopening plan for your children's schools?," 1 Aug. 2020 Civil rights organizations have filed a lawsuit saying that order is discriminatory and violates the Administrative Procedure Act, the same law that challengers invoked against the citizenship question. Washington Post, "Census Bureau could halt count a month earlier than planned, officials say," 1 Aug. 2020 The CityAirBus could be a new way to think about the future of travel since the aircraft does not need a driver in order to operate. Andrea Romano, Travel + Leisure, "Airbus' 'Flying Taxi' Could Change How We Travel in Cities," 31 July 2020 But Ducey's latest order requires schools to open in some capacity for the students with no place to go starting Aug. 17. Lily Altavena, The Arizona Republic, "Schools have to open on Aug. 17 for students with 'no place to go.' What does that mean?," 31 July 2020 Patrick Berthelot, 39, is charged with kidnapping, two counts of failure to comply with an order or signal from a police officer and four counts of felonious assault, according to court records. Madeline Mitchell, The Enquirer, "Semi truck driver indicted on 7 charges after holding wife hostage during police pursuit," 31 July 2020 The Pacific Beach gym remained open despite an order to close indoor operations to prevent the spread of the virus. Madeline Holcombe, CNN, "San Diego gym that defied a shut down order linked to a coronavirus outbreak," 31 July 2020 Crayola’s School Mask Packs are available for pre-order on Crayola’s SchoolMaskPack’s website and on Amazon — they’re expected to arrive by August 21. Zoe Malin, NBC News, "Crayola's new face masks for kids: What to know," 31 July 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'order.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of order


13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for order


Middle English, from ordre, noun


Middle English, from Anglo-French ordre, from Medieval Latin & Latin; Medieval Latin ordin-, ordo ecclesiastical order, from Latin, arrangement, group, class; akin to Latin ordiri to lay the warp, begin

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Time Traveler for order

Time Traveler

The first known use of order was in the 13th century

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Statistics for order

Last Updated

3 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Order.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/order. Accessed 11 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for order


How to pronounce order (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of order

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to use your authority to tell someone to do something : to give an order to someone
: to say that (something) must be done
: to request (something) from a company



English Language Learners Definition of order (Entry 2 of 2)

: a statement made by a person with authority that tells someone to do something : an instruction or direction that must be obeyed
: a specific request asking a company to supply goods or products to a customer
: a product or a group of products that someone has requested from a company


or·​der | \ ˈȯr-dər How to pronounce order (audio) \
ordered; ordering

Kids Definition of order

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to put into a particular grouping or sequence : arrange Dictionary entries are ordered alphabetically.
2 : to give a command to or for The general ordered troops into battle. I went to the counter to order lunch.



Kids Definition of order (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a certain rule or regulation : command … when he gave orders … everyone knew … that he expected to be obeyed.— Anna Sewell, Black Beauty
2 : the arrangement of objects or events in space or time List the names in alphabetical order.
3 : the way something should be He kept the room in order.
4 : the state of things when law or authority is obeyed Troops restored order after the riot.
5 : good working condition The telephone is out of order.
6 : a statement of what a person wants to buy Place your order for a birthday cake.
7 : goods or items bought or sold an order of pancakes
8 : a group of people united (as by living under the same religious rules or by loyalty to common needs or duties) He belongs to an order of monks.
9 orders plural : the office of a person in the Christian ministry holy orders
10 : a group of related living things (as plants or animals) that ranks above the family and below the class in scientific classification Bats form an order of mammals in the animal kingdom.
11 : a written direction to pay a sum of money
in order that
: so that
in order to
: for the purpose of
or·​der | \ ˈȯrd-ər How to pronounce order (audio) \
ordered; ordering\ ˈȯrd-​(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce ordering (audio) \

Medical Definition of order

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to give a prescription for : prescribe the doctor ordered bed rest



Medical Definition of order (Entry 2 of 2)

: a category of taxonomic classification ranking above the family and below the class

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Legal Definition of order

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a state of peace, freedom from unruly behavior, and respect for law and proper authority maintain law and order
2 : an established mode or state of procedure a call to order
3a : a mandate from a superior authority — see also executive order
b : a ruling or command made by a competent administrative authority specifically : one resulting from administrative adjudication and subject to judicial review and enforcement an administrative order may not be inconsistent with the Constitution Wells v. State, 654 So. 2d 145 (1995)
c : an authoritative command issued by the court violated a court order and was jailed for contempt
cease-and-desist order \ ˌsēs-​ənd-​di-​ˈzist-​, -​ˈsist-​ \
: an order from a court or quasi-judicial tribunal to stop engaging in a particular activity or practice (as an unfair labor practice) — compare injunction, mandamus, stay
consent order
: an agreement of litigating parties that by consent takes the form of a court order
final order
: an order of a court or quasi-judicial tribunal which leaves nothing further to be determined or accomplished in that forum except execution of the judgment and from which an appeal will lie
gag order
: an order barring public disclosure or discussion (as by the involved parties or the press) of information relating to a case
order to show cause
: an order requiring the prospective object of a legal action to show cause why that action should not take place

called also show cause order

pretrial order
: a court order setting out the rulings, stipulations, and other actions taken at a pretrial conference
protection order
: restraining order in this entry
protective order
: an order issued for the protection of a particular party: as
a : an order that limits, denies, or defers discovery by a party in order to prevent undue embarrassment, expense, oppression, or disclosure of trade secrets
b : restraining order in this entry
qualified domestic relations order
: an order, decree, or judgment that satisfies the criteria set out in section 414 of the Internal Revenue Code for the payment of all or part of individual pension, profit sharing, or retirement benefits usually to a divorcing spouse (as for alimony or child support)

Note: The alienation or assignment of funds under a qualified domestic relations order does not affect the tax status of the plan from which such funds are paid.

restraining order \ ri-​ˈstrā-​niŋ-​ \
1 : temporary restraining order in this entry
2 : an order of a specified duration issued after a hearing attended by all parties that is intended to protect one individual from violence, abuse, harassment, or stalking by another especially by prohibiting or restricting access or proximity to the protected party excluded from the home by a restraining order issued because of domestic violence

called also protection order, protective order

— compare temporary restraining order in this entry
show cause order
: order to show cause in this entry
temporary restraining order
1 : an order of brief duration that is issued ex parte to protect the plaintiff's rights from immediate and irreparable injury by preserving a situation or preventing an act until a hearing for a preliminary injunction can be held
2 : a protective order issued ex parte for a brief period prior to a hearing on a restraining order attended by both parties and intended to provide immediate protection from violence or threatened violence
turnover order \ ˈtər-​ˌnō-​vər-​ \
: an order commanding one party to turn over property to another especially : an order commanding a judgment debtor to turn over assets to a judgment creditor turnover order in aid of executionCalifornia Code of Civil Procedure
d : a command issued by a military superior
4a : a direction regarding the party to whom a negotiable instrument shall be paid pay to the order of John Doe — see also money order, negotiable instrument
b : an instruction or authorization especially to buy or sell goods or securities or to perform work a purchase order a work order
alternative order
: an order to a broker in which alternative methods of carrying out the order (as by buying or selling) are set forth
open order
1 : an order to buy securities or commodity futures that remains effective until filled or canceled
2 : an order for merchandise expressed in very general terms so that the seller has considerable latitude in selecting the articles actually provided
stop order
: an order to a broker to buy or sell a security when the price advances or declines to a designated level
c : goods or items bought or sold the order was received in good condition
to order
: according to the specifications of an order especially of a bearer or endorsee payable to bearer or to order



Legal Definition of order (Entry 2 of 2)

: payable to a named person or to an individual that person names by an endorsement order instrument — compare bearer

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More from Merriam-Webster on order

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for order

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with order

Spanish Central: Translation of order

Nglish: Translation of order for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of order for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about order

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